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Your Well-being

Healthy habits

New York Teacher

In a world where many things seem out of control, building healthy habits is a way to maintain your own sense of control and well-being and keep your immune system strong.

For starters, take a daily multivitamin (with vitamins C, D3 and zinc) and eat healthy foods each day, incorporating an array of colorful fruits, vegetables and whole foods into your diet. No one is perfect, but if most of your meals are healthy, you’re well on your way.

Movement is also important, especially when your job requires you to be at a computer for many hours. Make time for exercise breaks. Doing chair yoga will stretch your muscles and help ease aches and pains. Try to walk outdoors daily, for the sunlight, a mood booster and for the exercise.

Having a set time to go to bed and wake up each day helps set your circadian rhythm and can help with insomnia. If you find your mind racing at bedtime, try mindfulness meditation or a body scan meditation (paying attention to your body and its sensations from your feet to your head). There’s a free 21-day Calm app — loaded with sleep stories and meditations — available through the Member Assistance Program (MAP). You can explore other valuable resources on that self-care page as well.

Make sure you connect with friends, family and colleagues who support you, whether by phone, email, Zoom or outdoor get-togethers. MAP offers virtual support groups for in-service members on a wide range of topics and also offers virtual individual consultations and referrals.

Consider removing social media from your phone to break the addictive cycle of looking at it throughout the day. You can access these platforms on your computer instead.

What can you do with the time freed up by removing social media from your phone? Develop new and rewarding hobbies, such as cooking, reading, exercising, painting or journaling. And don’t forget to help others. It’s amazing what good things happen to our brains when we focus outside ourselves.

The UFT Member Assistance Program offers short-term counseling and outside referrals to help you deal with a wide range of issues. You can contact MAP by calling 212-701-9620 or by emailing Appointments and referrals are available Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 50 Broadway in Manhattan.